(Photo: Dan Delzell)
I hope you don't view Christmas as merely a holiday. It is so much more. In fact, Christmas is either a "game changer," or it is a hoax. Christmas means everything, or nothing at all.
If that little baby born in a manger was not God, then life is nothing but a short dream and a mist that evaporates into nothingness. If that little baby was not God, you really should be depressed because there is no hope. Without the Son of God being born in Bethlehem, we have zilch, nada, nothing. If Christmas is in fact only "Xmas," then you might as well throw in the towel and prepare to return to dust.
If, on the other hand, God became flesh and dwelt among us.....then, stop the presses! If Jesus was born and if Jesus really is Immanuel, meaning "God with us," then everything changes. My outlook. My priorities. My concerns. My fears. My relationships. My values. My short-term thinking, and my long-term thinking. Absolutely everything hinges on that baby. Was He fully God and fully man, or was he merely a man? Christmas means everything, or nothing at all.
If you are one of the millions of people trying to live in the "middle," you are wasting your time and your life by living for the weekends and for a holiday every now and then. If true worship of the King of Kings could happen even if you did it only one time a year, what would be the real meaning and purpose of serving Him and bowing down before Him the rest of the year? You see....there is no middle when it comes to Christmas. There is no riding the fence when it comes to accepting Jesus or rejecting Him. There is no lukewarm middle when it comes to following Christ or living for self. It's an all or nothing proposition.
God didn't come halfway to earth. He came all the way. Jesus wasn't born with only one nature, but with both natures completely in tact. Jesus didn't live a "mostly good" life on earth, but a perfect life. Jesus didn't hang on the cross until he got tired of suffering and then decided to come down. He went all the way to His death and resurrection. There is no point in celebrating Christmas as a holiday. There is no use in attempting to worship God on only one or two days a year. It doesn't work that way. God became more than a spectator to our situation. He fully immersed Himself in our problem and in the solution. The only way to connect to the Christ of Christmas is to fully immerse yourself in His love and His forgiveness. Otherwise, all you have are some feel good hymns, a tree, and some Christmas lights.
Does the Lord want you to attend a Christmas Eve service even if you have not been to church all year? Yes.....if.....you are open to having a life-changing experience with your Creator where you begin to worship Him everyday of the year. Yes....if....you are open to the idea of emptying yourself of your own agenda and taking up whatever agenda God has for you in the new year. Without that openness, it is a waste of your time to attend a service and sing some hymns just because it has become your tradition. Warm fuzzy feelings at Christmas are available even to those who only treat it as a holiday and a tradition. A much deeper reality is entered into when a person comes to the end of himself and the beginning of a new life with Immanuel.
So either rejoice completely in God's plan of salvation and sell out to Jesus, or forget Christmas forever and spend Christmas Eve the same way you spend the rest of your life. It won't do you any good to pretend that a holiday means more to you than it really does. The other 364 days tell God what we really believe about Christmas.